Capturing Malaysia at its most wonderful

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Capturing Malaysia at its most wonderful

Buddha beckons while dragons await at the Wat Phothikyan Phutthaktham in Bachok, Kelantan. Photo: Khoo Kok Ann

Malaysia

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Thanks to the entries received for The Star’s 45@45 Anniversary Giveaway Round 4, many hidden treasures have been unearthed. We asked our readers to showcase the magic of Malaysia through an image and a short accompanying story – be it about a place, an attraction, a dish or an event.

We gave you a look at nine of the winning entries previously. Here are nine more (in no particular order).

There be ‘dragons’

Some 25km from Kota Baru, in the village of Kampung Balai, off Bachok, lies the Wat Phothikyan Phutthaktham. What strikes you at first is the 30m tall white standing Budhha. Then, as you get closer, your jaw will drop at the sight of a pair of intricate, colourful “dragons” that basically make up the wall around the temple. It is reputedly the longest such dragons in South-East Asia.

There is also an ancient giant tree in the middle of the compound, which serves as a wishing tree, with many colourful ribbons hanging from its branches. Another attraction is the Wat’s fragrant herbal steam bath, which one can partake of for a token sum.

– Khoo Kok Ann wins an AirAsia return ticket to Shantou, China

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? Names are changed to denote parenthood or grandparenthood, during the Kelabit Irau Mekaa Ngadan celebration in Bario, Sarawak. — KAMALA VAINY KANAPATHY PILLAI

Names are changed to denote parenthood or grandparenthood, during the Kelabit Irau Mekaa Ngadan celebration in Bario, Sarawak. Photo: Kamala Vainy Kanapathy Pillai

When one speaks of Bario, immediately the world-famous Bario rice and Bario Highlands salt spring to mind, rekindling fond memories of amazing Borneo and its beautiful Kelabit community. Home to one of the smallest ethnic groups in Sara­wak, Bario also has a unique celebration, with feasting and dancing, that is not found anywhere else in Asia – the Irau Mekaa Ngadan.

Once a year, the Kelabit come together to bestow special names to celebrate new parents and new grandparents. Parents with a son are addressed as Tamabu (father) and Sinabu (mother) while parents with a daughter are called Temamu (father) and Sinamu (mother). The community would address them with the special titles until they get their first grandchild. Grandparents with a first grandson would now be Tepuabu (grandfather or grandmother) and Tepuamu (grandfather or grandmother of a girl). Under this system, their old names would be permanently discarded, replaced with new ones.

– Kamala Vainy Kanapathy Pillai wins an AirAsia X return ticket to Perth, Australia

‘Fishing’ for a jetty

Mother and son did not abandon their search and were rewarded for it with this awesome sight along Port Dickson’s 12th Mile. Photo: Yogasvari Ratnam

My son and I decided to go for a drive to Port Dickson about 30km away from home. We went to the PD Waterfront to enjoy the sea view. After a while, we needed a coffee fix, so we popped over to an international coffee chain around the corner.

A poster there, of a place, caught my attention. I asked the staff about the place but nobody knew about it. We asked a few locals, and one man gave us vague directions. Instead of being discouraged, we were more determined to get there! After many turns and misses, we finally found the fisherman’s jetty. It was a mesmerising sight! It’s located along the 12th mile.

– Yogasvari Ratnam wins an AirAsia X return ticket to Busan, South Korea

Dabong is ‘da one’

Dabong is ‘da one’: The tracks leading to the train station at Dabong, Kelantan. — LIEW CHI KHONG

Dabong is ‘da one’: The tracks leading to the train station at Dabong, Kelantan. Photo: Liew Chi Khong

Dabong, in Kelantan, is a small Malay kampung not known to many. This small village, located beside a river, has many old wooden houses on stilts – that is its attraction. The Dabong railway station is quite unique: as the train approaches, passengers can be seen standing at the train’s door while the train is still moving, all wanting to catch a better glimpse of the station. Definitely, this is the most beautiful railway station that I have come across in my journey through the 11 states of Peninsular Malaysia.

– Liew Chi Khong wins an AirAsia return ticket to Hyderabad, India

Zodiac journey

Spot the animals on the hill in Sedenak, Johor. Wait, is that a panda? Photo: Rina Lestari

Spot the animals on the hill in Sedenak, Johor. Wait, is that a panda? Photo: Rina Lestari

In the small town of Sedenak, some 34km outside Johor Baru, you will find the Hua Guo San. It gained this name because of the presence of the numerous monkeys here – in the famed novel Journey To The West, it is the habitat of Sun Wu Kong. There is a small Buddhist temple there, and overlooking it is a small hill on which sit 12 Chinese Zodiac statues and the Guanyin Bodhisattva. There is a stairway to climb up to get a closer view. Tourists also come here for a bath which they believe can bring them good fortune, happiness and health. There is also a “dragon’s mouth” from which flows spring water that is blessed – some even use the water to wash their car number plates to bring good fortune.

– Lim Chin Hwa (photo: Rina Lestari) wins an AirAsia return ticket to Changsha, China.

Chasing, and falling into, waterfalls

Boys just wanna have fun – doing stunts at the Chilling Waterfall in Kuala Selangor. Photo: Yazid Zulme

Boys just wanna have fun – doing stunts at the Chilling Waterfall in Kuala Selangor. Photo: Yazid Zulme

I went chasing for waterfalls in Kuala Selangor. I never knew it has so many magical places. Eventually, I came to the Chilling Waterfall; it’s along the road from Kuala Kubu Baru. Visitors need to trek along Chilling River and cross it six times to reach the waterfall. After 30 to 50 minutes of trekking, the waterfall will come into view. And, yes, there were slips and I got soaked climbing over all those rocks. I swam behind the waterfall and crawled up a slimy cliff to a point where I could jump off. Then my friend decided to pull some kind of “Alley Oop, switch, cork-screw backflip” thingy – and still nailed a perfect landing in the water. How awesome that was!

– Abdul Karim Akram Adnan (photo: Yazid Zulme) wins a Malindo Air return ticket to Bali.

Broke-back Broga

They went up Broga Hill and came zipping down after.Photo: Kaan Soo Han

They went up Broga Hill and came zipping down after.Photo: Kaan Soo Han

Who would have thought that you could do so much in Broga (near Semenyih)? In June, a group of us decided to have an overnight stay there. We arrived at 10am and strolled over to the Chinese temple and had some coconut shake and baked tilapia at the stalls by the roadside facing the lake. Eating over, it was soon a series of physical activities like rock-climbing and kayaking. The next day, it was trekking up to Broga Hill to see the sunrise and, finally, doing the Flying Fox down. A very short but memorable trip for me.

– Kaan Soo Han wins a one-night stay for two in an executive room at Traders Hotel KL (including dinner and cocktails)

Turning turtle

Happy campers enjoying the perfect sunrise in Pulau Lang Tengah. — ERIC MATTHEW CAPEL

Happy campers enjoying the perfect sunrise in Pulau Lang Tengah. Photo: Eric Matthew Capel

The hunt for the perfect sunrise brought us all across the East Coast to this remote rocky cliff. Dubbed Batu Kucing, it sits on the south-­eastern promontory of Pulau Lang Tengah, a tiny and lesser known island sandwiched between Pulau Redang and the Perhentian Islands.

A tip-off from a friend prompted us to ask the boatman to drop us off at “the best place to camp”.

The azure sea stretched as far as the eye could see.

Not far from here is a hidden beach, and a little inland is an intriguingly quaint settlement with a mix of foreigners and locals. They form the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch, a non-profit group that protects the turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs. These foreign nationals who come from as far away as Britain, Germany and France live up to several weeks here. As clichéd as it may sound, this was where I saw my first shooting star! In the morning, we were woken up before our alarms by the most magnificent sunrise. It was a truly breathtaking and heartwarming sight.

– Eric Matthew Capel wins a one-night stay for two in an executive room at Traders Hotel KL (including dinner and cocktails)

Sands at sunset

Sahara? Not quite ... these are actually the sand dunes of Padang Pasir Klebang, Malacca. — YAZID ZULME

Sahara? Not quite … these are actually the sand dunes of Padang Pasir Klebang, Malacca. Photo: Yazid Zulme

I have a deep and abiding love for sunsets, mostly because I’m rarely awake for the sunrise. If you plan to go for a vacation in Malacca, I highly recommend Padang Pasir Klebang as a must-visit spot. Location and scenery are so unique that you might think you are somewhere exotic like the Sahara Desert.

– Sabariyah Mohd Yusoff (photo: Yazid Zulme) wins a Malindo Air return ticket to Bali.

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